Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said recently that her state does not have the capacity to house migrant children who have come into the country illegally amid the country’s ongoing immigration crisis, arguing the problem was created by President Biden and so he has the responsibility to fix it.
“We don’t have the facilities. We are not set up to do that,” Reynolds said during an interview with WHO radio on Thursday, during which she announced that she recently turned down a request from the Department of Health and Human Services to house hundreds of the migrant children.
“This is not our problem; this is the president’s problem,” she added defiantly. “He is the one that opened the borders. He needs to be responsible for this, and he needs to stop it.”
Tens of thousands of unaccompanied migrant children are currently being held in grim, cage-like Border Patrol facilities along the southern border, oftentimes for longer than is legally permitted. The tragic situation is the result of a worsening crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, as unprecedented numbers of migrants surge into the country illegally expecting lenient treatment under President Joe Biden.
The Biden administration reported last week that more than 170,000 migrants were apprehended by Border Patrol agents in March, the highest monthly total in over a decade, and 70,000 more than were apprehended in February.
In response to the crisis, the overwhelmed Biden administration has been forced to adopt drastic measures, including releasing tens of thousands of adult illegal immigrants directly into the country — potentially without court dates — and setting up makeshift surge facilities for unaccompanied children.
Since the surge facilities for children have garnered the most media attention and public outcry, the administration has given special attention to that issue apparently by asking northern states to help out.
According to the Des Moines Register, in late March, a HHS employee reached out to Iowa’s state government with a request that the state make any of its unoccupied residential child care beds available to migrant children.
But in response, Iowa Department of Human Services Director Kelly Garcia said that “Iowa is not in a position to take unaccompanied minors at this time.”
The Register noted that Iowa Department of Human Services spokesman Matt Highland acknowledged in an email that it “is an incredibly saddening and difficult situation,” but said the decision was due to the state’s limited resources.